Estate agents operating close to potential fracking sites in the UK are warning that the controversial technique is likely to wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the values of nearby listings.
It could also make homes harder to sell with agents in areas already targeted by fracking companies reporting concerns from prospective buyers over looming shale developments, with some sales already falling through as a result.
The findings from a survey of estate agents conducted by leading marketing research agency Redshift and for environmental campaigners Greenpeace UK in three key areas where energy firms are planning to carry out fracking in West Sussex, Manchester, and Lancashire, shows that 67% believe fracking could bring down prices.
A majority of them estimate the loss in value could be up to 11% with two agents putting it as high as 41% to 70%. With the price of the average house in the UK estimated at £272,000, even just a 10% drop in value could translate into a loss of tens of thousands of pounds.
Some 54% said they are concerned fracking could reduce listing sales near potential sites. Most of those who say they’re concerned believe more than one in 10 purchases could be affected, with nine dealers putting the estimate as high as 25 to 50% of all sales.
One in four respondents also say home buyers have expressed concerns about the prospect of fracking in the area, with four estate agents reporting some customers have pulled out as a result.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change is expected to auction off licence blocks to fracking firms over an area covering more than half of Britain in the coming months. The government has previously stated there’s no evidence that fracking will affect house prices.
But three quarters of the estate agents said fracking should not be permitted until more research is done.
James Nisbet, who lives a few hundred metres from one of the Lancashire sites says a few potential buyers have pulled out of purchasing his £375,000 house after learning about the looming energy development.
‘We have had six viewings so far, all with very positive feedback, but no one wants to commit to buying with the fracking shadow hanging over us. I’ve been hearing the same story from quite a few people in the area. We have lived here for 15 years. I really like this place and I don’t want to move, but I also don’t particularly wish to stick around to see what fracking will do to this community,’ he said.
Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Home Owners Alliance, said it is worrying that homeowners who happen to live in fracking zones are being kept in the dark on how fracking will affect them.
‘Some are already starting to bear the brunt through aborted sales and their homes being devalued. The Government needs to lead an honest and open debate on fracking and its impact on the local community. Our homes are our most valuable asset and ministers shouldn’t be allowed to ride roughshod over people without any discussion or consultation and only a whiff of compensation,’ she added.
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Source: Property News Spain